While the General Managers Meetings begin this week in Florida, some Padres prospects are hoping to make some splashes of their own in the winter and fall leagues. Pitcher Ryan Butler is pitching well in the Arizona Fall League, while young infielder Luis Urias is lighting up Mexican Pacific League pitching at just 18 years old. He plays primarily shortstop and also played well last year with the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
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As reported by Bill Center of the San Diego Padres, when it comes to player development the Padres are not taking the winter off. Urias went 9-22 last week with two doubles and is hitting .356 in 59 total at-bats. This comes on the heels of a season for Fort Wayne where he hit .290 in 51 games with a .370 on-base percentage. The Obregon Yaquis do welcome back their all time home run leader shortly in Christian Villanueva who naturally is a Cubs prospect. He is expected to take some playing time from Urias but if his bat continues to impress they will be forced to find ways to keep him in the lineup.
Meanwhile, pitcher Ryan Butler is 3-0 after allowing just one run so far through 9 innings in the Arizona Fall League. In his second year in the organization and first as a starter last season between A and AA, he made ten starts for an overall 3-5 record and 3.90 ERA. Many are high on his prospects for turning into a quality major league starter – something the Padres can never have too much of – within the next year or two.
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We will continue to monitor the winter league action as several major league ready Padres look to improve on their own skills and many others look to make the jump to the big club sooner than later.